A major book prize announced its list of notables in the last week of July.

Vigilant book watchers are probably thinking of the Booker Prize, first established in 1969 for the best book written in English by someone from the UK or Ireland, then expanded to include any English-language novel in 2014, making way for some of the kingdom’s former settlers.

These settlers on our side of the pond are well represented on the announced long list, including Percival Everett for his masterful “The Trees”, Karen Joy Fowler’s “Booth” and “Oh William!” by Elizabeth Strout.

But no, that’s not the price I’m thinking of because a much bigger price was announced almost simultaneously on social media. This prize is called “Barack Obama’s Summer Reading List”.

OK, technically former President Barack Obama posting the books he’s reading this summer on the internet isn’t a book prize, but judging by the attention and reception to his list versus the announcement of the Booker Prize is much, much more important.

On Twitter, Obama’s announcement received more than 8,100 retweets and at least 63,000 likes. The Booker Prize announcement received over 800 retweets and over 1,800 likes.

Now, that mostly reflects the far greater reach of Obama’s online presence than the Booker Prize organization, but that’s part of the problem. The Booker Prize is perhaps the second most prestigious prize in the world, behind the Nobel Prize, and yet if you ask the average author whether he would rather be shortlisted for the Booker Prize or selected by Barack Obama for his list of summer reading, I bet a decent number would take the nod from Obama.

I know I would, at least.

It made me wonder why, exactly? What makes the ex-president’s sharing of what he’s had on his nightstand or carried around in his briefcase as he does what ex-presidents do seem so special?

This is partly because Obama has a well-deserved reputation as a person of literary taste and discernment. I can tell because five of his 14 picks have also made it to my playlist in the past 12 months, and two more are on my bedside table.

I think it’s also significant that Obama seems to embrace a range of genres, with a healthy dose of literary fiction, but also a John le Carré novel and SA Cosby’s gritty neo-noir.

The full list:

“Sea of ​​Tranquility” by Emily St. John Mandel

“Why We’re Polarized” by Ezra Klein

“The Candy House” by Jennifer Egan

“A Little Devil in America: In Praise of Black Performance” by Hanif Abdurraqib

“In Paradise” by Hanya Yanagihara

“Money View” by John le Carre

“Black Cake” by Charmaine Wilkerson

“The Family Chaos” by Lan Samantha Chang

“The Velvet Was the Night” by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

“Mouth to mouth” by Antoine Wilson

“The Great Experiment: Why Various Democracies Collapse and How They Can Last” by Yascha Mounk

“The School of Good Mothers” by Jessamine Chan

“Razor Tears” by SA Cosby

“Blood in the Garden: The Blatant History of the New York Knicks of the 1990s” by Chris Herring

My only disappointment in the president’s list is his rather bland taste for the political books of Ezra Klein and Yascha Mounk, books that flatter rather than challenge the president’s worldview. Maybe he and the rest of us would benefit from a perspective less rooted in the mainstream?

I would love to see it embrace something from the much more radical and challenging Haymarket books (from Chicago), perhaps “Elite Capture: How the Powerful Took Over Identity Politics (And Everything Else)” by Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò.

I don’t know what a mention of Obama does for book sales, but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was at least Oprah-ish, and all with just a simple social media graphic, no club reading, no TV show, nothing.

Although, now that I think about it, Barack’s Book Club sounds good.

John Warner is the author of “Why They Can’t Write: Killing the Five-Paragraph Essay and Other Necessities”.

Twitter @biblioracle

Biblioracle book recommendations

John Warner tells you what to read based on the last five books you read

1. “Last Night at the Telegraph Club” by Malinda Lo

2. “Real company” by Sara Novic

3. “Tell the wolves I’m home” by Carol Rifka Brunt

4. “The Great Believers” by Rebecca Makkai

5. “Conversations with friends” by Sally Rooney

— Barb T., Nashville, Tennessee

This book is kind of a lot to handle, but I think Barb delivers, “My Education” by Susan Choi.

1. “Workout Partners” by John Grisham

2. “The Fifth Witness” by Michael Connelly

3. “The cold, cold floor” by Adrian McKinty

4. “Mother tongue” by Carl Hiasen

5. “Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets” by David Simon

— William P., Charlotte, North Carolina

An obvious orientation towards detective novels, which I will respect, and suggest one with powerful atmospheres and slow burning, “The Searcher” by Tana French.

1. “Ripper” by John Edward Williams

2. “Augustus” by John Edward Williams

3. “The Angel of Rome” by Jess Walter

4. “The Library Book” by Susan Orleans

5. “Matterhorn” by Karl Marlantes

—Nelson R., Chicago

I think “Matterhorn” is a great novel about the experience of Vietnam from the American soldier’s side. I think Nelson might be interested in a novel about the flip side of the war, the Vietnamese experience as depicted in Viet Thanh Nguyen’s “The Sympathizer.”

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Send a list of the last five books you read and your hometown to [email protected].